Hearst Acquires Digital Agency iCrossing

Following months of rumors, Hearst Corp. today announced it has acquired search-focused digital marketing agency iCrossing for an undisclosed sum. To accommodate the agency, Hearst will launch a new unit dubbed Hearst Marketing Services, initially consisting of iCrossing alone, with additional businesses to be added later, a spokesperson said.

The agency will continue to work with its existing client base as well as collaborating with other Hearst divisions to offer wider services to its advertisers, the corporation said. The iCrossing brand will be retained, as will the agency’s management, which will remain in their posts following the completion of the acquisition.

Matthew Petersen, senior vice president of Hearst Magazines, will head up the new unit, and said “connecting with consumers online, on mobile devices and through search and social marketing, is becoming more and more essential to [Hearst’s] business.”

iCrossing’s core business is in search, but it also boasts web development, social media, mobile, and analytics services. Its clients have included major brands such as The Coca-Cola Company, Bank of America and Toyota. Hearst said it plans to “bolster iCrosing’s strengths” with investments that add complementary capabilities and services, and that it expects its new line of business to “grow very well.”

In a statement, Hearst CEO Frank Bennack said the new unit will be an important asset and that the company “continues to look for new ways to reach key audiences through digital marketing for our brands and our clients.”

iCrossing CEO Don Scales also suggested its alignment with Hearst will complement its work for existing clients, as well as those it will be exposed to through the relationship. “[The merger] means a sharing of consumer insights, content, channel expertise and technology that will result in totally new approaches to both digital and integrated marketing for advertisers,” he said.

The closing of the deal is subject to regulatory review and approval.

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